Here’s what we know:
Healthcare is expensive and not always helpful (sometimes completely useless) when you have a complex illness.
Alternative medicine and healing modalities take some financial investment.
It can be hard to pay for the treatment you need when you are sick, especially if you’re not working, or not working very much.
These truths leave a lot of people stuck. They see treatment options they want to explore but they do not have the funds to try those options or continue them once they start.
If this is you, you might consider crowdfunding for your treatment.
Before you close out of this blog post in disgust and move on, know that it is 100% normal to not want to ask people for money. Most people, aside from professional fundraisers, experience extreme discomfort at the thought of asking others for monetary support. You are not alone.
I too was once petrified by the thought of asking for money, for myself or others, and now I’m one of the weirdos who LOVES fundraising. I have done door-to-door fundraising, big event fundraising, letter campaigns, and a whole lot of crowdfunding, for myself, organizations, and people I love. I paid for most of my first two coaching trainings with crowdfunding campaigns because I was unemployed when I signed up for them. This was my first campaign.
Here’s a little secret that I learned early on: people love to give money to support things they care about, and especially people they love. Not everyone can give, but that does not mean they do not want to.
And here’s another even cooler secret I learned from some wise coaches: When you ask people to support you, you are contributing to them. People want to support you and when you give them a clear way to do that, they are pumped!
Have you ever been to a party or at someone’s place for dinner and when you ask how you can help, they say, “I’ve got it” and then you feel awkward because you have nothing to do? And then have you experienced immense relief when you ask how you can help and someone says “you can open the salsa and put the chips in a bowl?” It’s pretty much just like that. Giving people a clear way to support you is like giving them a gift.
Chances are people who love you have been wanting to support you, even if they don’t know the ins and outs of your health challenge. And maybe you haven’t talked to them in years but you made them laugh so much at summer camp that they’ll say “yes” to anything you ask for. You don’t know this yet, because you haven’t asked, and that’s one of the best parts about crowdfunding -- it’s full of surprises!
You might be thinking, “That sounds nice but who will I ask?” The short answer is anyone who might say “yes.” Think friends, family, family friends, co-workers, former co-workers, classmates, and members of any groups, communities, or sports teams you are part of or have been part of in the past. Of course, you may want to be more choosy if you are not yet open with everyone about your health challenge or disability, or if you do not speak to your family, or for other reasons. Start making a list and see where it takes you. If can list between 50-100 people, you can likely run a good little crowdfunder.
If after doing that, if you think you might want to do this, the next step is to get clear on what you want to fundraise for and how much money you want to raise. My recommendation is to ask for a little more than what you need. This is both to cover unexpected expenses and the transaction fees for credit card payments. I recommend using the Generosity or YouCaring platforms because they do not charge a service fee. If you want to use video in your campaign, choose YouCaring. On these two sites, you only pay the transaction fee (3% + 30 cents on every donation). Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and others charge 5% on top of the 3-5% transaction fees. That’s up to 10% of your hard earned fundraised cash lost to fees. Some people think that being on one of the more well-known platforms will help them get exposure. That might be true if you were launching a cool new eco hammock company but it is unlikely to happen with a campaign for one person’s medical treatment. If you have a really great story, strangers will be inspired to give, but they aren’t going to find you because they’re browsing Kickstarter, they’ll find you because someone they know shared your page with them.
Your next step is to tell a really compelling story. Other than you just being awesome, why should people support you? What are you healing for? What are you about in the world? Focus more on what you’re working towards than how hard things have been for you. People like to invest in hope.
Then, you want to get your campaign out there to ask many people as possible using all your available communication channels. And then you will follow up, a few different times.
It definitely takes some energy, but it will be well worth it when you are getting the regular bodywork you need or seeing the specialist you’ve had your eye on for years.
If you want some more support on running a successful crowdfunding campaign, let’s talk! I’ve coached dozens of people to run successful crowdfunding campaigns and have resources to walk you through every step of the process. I offer 1 hour crowdfunding consultations to help you craft a great story, building your list, and plan your outreach so that all the people who want to give actually do. You can schedule a consultation here. Happy crowdfunding!